Sunday 21 July 2019

'International stars don't do the rounds like they used to do' - Pat Kenny on challenges facing Irish TV shows

Pat Kenny was 41 years at RTÉ
Pat Kenny was 41 years at RTÉ

Sean O'Grady

Pat Kenny has admitted he doesn't miss hosting the Late Late Show.

The former RTE star fronted the long-running chat show for a decade before handing over to Ryan Tubridy.

Although he looks back fondly on his time on the show, the 69-year-old reckons 10 Toy Shows was more than enough.

"When I stopped, it was the right time. I did 11 years of Kenny Live before that, so I'd done 21 years in chat show territory," he said.

"Maybe Ryan has 21 years in him for the Late Late. I look back on that period with great affection. I loved doing the Late Late Show.

"But when you've done 10 Toy Shows and 10 big extravaganzas, you figure, 'OK, I've done my time'.

"The Toy Show tends to define the arc of your season."

The show's calibre of guests has sometimes been compared unfavourably with other chat shows such as The Graham Norton Show, even though audience share for the Late Late is often ten times that of Norton in Ireland.

Kenny insisted it's harder for Irish TV to get A-listers these days as they do not want to travel to Dublin.

"It's just a fact of life for any show, not just the Late Late," he told the Herald.

"The international stars, the way they do their business these days is that they fly into a hotel room in London.

"Spanish TV and German TV and everyone else fly in and interview them there. They don't do the rounds like they used to do."

The TV3 presenter revealed that even when he did secure a high-profile guest, outside factors often forced them to change their plans.

"The reality is, it happened to Gay Byrne and it happened to me," he said.

"Even when you get an international star, there's fog in Heathrow so they don't arrive. You have to get creative."

The Late Late Show's highest-profile guest in recent weeks was US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Tubridy flew to New York to interview her and drew an impressive audience of 527,900 viewers.

Late Late Show scores ratings hit for interview with Hillary Clinton 


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